List of Materialist Dodges

UD’s Helpful List of Materialist Dodges

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Materialists employ the same dodges to rational argument over and over. It is really tiresome to have to read the dodges in full time and again. Therefore, as a service to the materialists who post on this site, UD is developing a list of materialist dodges. Instead of having to type your dodge out every time, to save time and effort, our materialist friends should feel free to cite their dodges by number. For example, instead of writing out some tedious version of “I have no answer for why materialism is not logically incoherent. Instead, I will poke fun at caricatures of dualism” you can just cite “MD1” (for “Materialist Dodge 1”). We will add to the list as the dodges accumulate.

Materialist Dodge 1: Mock dualism

If you reject materialism that must mean you believe in a homunculus in your head pulling levers just like that little guy sitting in the head of the corpse in the autopsy scene in Men in Black. If not that, you probably believe a ghost resides in your pineal gland. Never mind that dualism entails neither of these things; I’ve got to make my rhetorical hay while the sun is shining. I certainly can’t let the conversation come back around to the logical incoherence of materialism.

Materialist Dodge 2: Allude to all those books out there

A lot of people have written a lot of books kind of generally about this subject. Yes, you should accept my mere reference to those books as an argument. Of course I will not deign to quote those books or even summarize their argument. If you don’t understand why my mere reference to books I’ve read not only supports my position but absolutely clinches it beyond the slightest doubt, it is because you are an ignorant fundie. And I have better things to do with my time than educate invincibly ignorant fundies.

Materialist Dodge 3: The many meanings distraction

Well, you say “materialist” as if that word has a single meaning. There are lots of materialists, and they don’t all believe the same thing. Therefore, I don’t have to answer your objections to materialism.

Materialist Dodge 4: Issue a promissory note

I have no response to why materialism is not logically incoherent. But, you know, a long time ago people thought some pretty silly things were true (flat earth anyone?). Today’s flat earther are those who don’t accept materialism. Never mind that science has actually established that the earth is round and it has not (and in principle cannot) establish that materialism is true. We are making great progress with our MRIs and suchlike. So I hope you will accept my materialist promissory note. I’ve got no intellectual currency now, but I am confident someone, somewhere, sometime in the future (next year, next century, next millennium) will be able to pay the note in full (with interest!).

Materialist Dodge 5: Invoke magic as an explanation

Subjective self-awareness is an emergent property of the central nervous system. There is some supervening going on in there too, of course. Atheist Thomas Nagel was just wrong when he said that an explanation must be systematic. I can just invoke some supposed brute fact like “emergent” as if that is an explanation rather than something that calls for an explanation. Nagel was also wrong when he compared doing that to saying “It’s magic!”

Materialist Dodge 6: The Humpty Dumpty gambit

The dualistic sense of the words you use is so passe. Never mind that that is what those words actually mean when English speakers use them. We materialists get to use words any way that suits us; we’ve been freed from adherence to the linguistic conventions of English speakers. It is not our fault if that obscures our meaning and results in confusion; it is you ignorant fundies’ fault for failing to keep up. Oh, we can also slip back and forth between conventional and esoteric word meaning without telling you. So, when I say “beliefs” are real. That is not inconsistent with saying “beliefs” are an illusion. And when you catch my equivocating between the conventional and esoteric use of words, like that I’ll just accuse you of not being able to accept the findings of science.

Materialist Dodge 7: False claim about what science has demonstrated

Science has demonstrated that subjective self-awareness is an illusion. Therefore, if you point to the existence of subjective self-awareness in an attack on materialism, it just means you are a frightened fundamentalist rube fighting the advances of science like those guys who burned Galileo at the stake. Don’t ask me to show you the scientific experiment that proved subjective self-awareness is an illusion. I have better things to do with my time than educate invincibly ignorant fundies.

Materialist Dodge 8: You Want The Truth! You Can’t Handle the Truth!

You are unable to process the fact that science has proven materialism to be true, because an ignorant, benighted fundamentalist with aspirations of imposing a theocracy can’t handle the truth. Like a bug running away when the rock is turned over, you wiggle and squirm under the unrelenting glare of Science. Don’t ask me to show you the scientific experiment that demonstrated the truth of materialism. I have better things to do with my time than educate invincibly ignorant fundies.

Materialist Dodge 9: Drop the “superstition” bomb

Your dualist belief is superstitious nonsense. Why, yes, that assertion is my argument. It makes no difference that I have not demonstrated your belief to be false (much less superstitious) and it makes no difference that my materialist beliefs are logically incoherent. My mere assertion that a belief is superstitious settles the matter.

Materialist Dodge 10: Materialists are better people

I don’t have to give you a response defending the logical coherence of materialism. All I have to do is point out that only emotionally unstable people, like you for instance, need to lean on the crutch of superstitious dualism. We materialists have the emotional maturity to be perfectly happy without it. Yes, that is my argument. Stop looking at me like that.

Materialist Dodge 11: The burden is always on you, never on me

It makes not the slightest bit of difference that subjective self-awareness is the “primordial datum,” that everyone knows is a fact beyond the slightest doubt. It makes no difference that we are presupposing the existence of subjective self-awareness by even having this discussion. Unless you can give me a systematic account for how the immaterial interacts with the material, I do not have to explain why materialism is not logically incoherent.

Materialist Dodge 12: You are motivated to believe by your sub-rational desires; but not I

I don’t have to defend the logical coherence of materialism. All I have to do is point out that anyone who rejects materialism is motivated by sub-rational desires, like the desire for meaning in the universe. Why, yes, we materialists are exempt from this criticism; we have superpowers, one of which is to step outside of ourselves as we think about metaphysics.

40 Replies to “UD’s Helpful List of Materialist Dodges

  1. 1
    eigenstate says:

    @Barry,

    I think you can understand, if you are willing to understand, materialist shrugs at your complaints of “incoherence” as simply the understanding that you use “incoherence” as a euphemism for “Barry doesn’t understand or Barry disagrees, or both”. In reading now several of your more pearl-clutching sermons on this (e.g. “stake the heart of rationality itself”!!!!), you don’t bother to point out any incoherence or substantiate the concern.

    It’s much more economical to just understand you to be taking a cynical path here and to use “irrational” and “incoherent” in place of “ideologically or otherwise objectionable to Barry”.

    Let’s focus on an example. If the materialist is correct and there is no “supernatural I”, or any spooky stuff that dualists suppose there is, what incoherence obtains necessarily from that?

    I imagine a dualist might complain: “But my separateness, my disembodiedness is self-evident!”. Accepting that at face value, it’s a point of dissonance, to be sure, but there’s nothing incoherent in the materialist framework, here: the dualist simply has intuitions that are not borne out in reality.

    Or perhaps I might imagine a theist complaining about “objective morality”: If materialism is true, there is no objective right and wrong! On materialism there is no “cosmic right and wrong” or “absolute moral law”, and again, it is understood that this is a source of *dissonance* for those who are deeply committed to these ideas, but there’s nothing incoherent in a materialist universe without those things. One may desire for “Laws from God”, but there’s no logical conundrum evinced by their absence: humans have a physical nature that informs subjective and “local morality”, subject to cultural and environmental factors, but it’s a coherent functional model, if one that does invoke lots of pearl-clutching in some circles.

    I could go on, but you get the idea. Rather than my providing putative, potential examples that really aren’t, why don’t you give us a good “champion example” of this incoherence that necessarily follows from materialist understandings. I predict that on inspection, what you provide (and I no better to expect anything really, from experience, but in case you do oblige) will show a conflict between dualist/theist understandings and materialist claims about reality. It’s true to say that dualist understandings do not cohere with materialist understandings. I believe your point was something with more substance, namely that materialism is internally inconsistent and doesn’t cohere on its own terms and understandings.

    I’m interested in what you’d say a good clear example of this is.

    Without that kind of substance, I’m quite comfortable understanding that your claims of incoherence and other problems is just cynical rhetoric, posturing and hand-waving on your part. Nothing need be dodged or bothered with.

  2. 2

    Materialist dodge: “I can’t really explain how it solves the problem, but … emergentism. So … yeah.”

  3. 3

    Materialist dodge: “Your bourgeois theistic terms don’t wash under materialism, see? You no comprehend our particular lingo, bro. Words in m-ville are like, fluid, man, and mean whatever we need them to mean at the time. You dig?”

  4. 4
    Upright BiPed says:

    I think you can understand, if you are willing to understand, materialist shrugs at your complaints of “incoherence” as simply the understanding that you use “incoherence” as a euphemism for “Barry doesn’t understand or Barry disagrees, or both”.

    ADD to the list:

    I don’t have a response to the incoherence of my position, so I propose it’s your fault. Yes, it’s definitely your fault.

  5. 5

    Materialist dodge: “Why you harshing on materialists, dude? What you got against us? Man you ain’t acting like Jesus, chill!”

  6. 6
    eigenstate says:

    Let’s keep track of how far this thread goes without anyone even bothering to point out, let alone demonstrate, an instance of this alleged incoherence. O-for-the-thread including the OP so far…

    Ho hum. There’s nothing to dodge, even if one wanted to dodge, so far.

  7. 7

    Materialist dodge: “I don’t like your tone, foREALS!”

  8. 8
    WALTO says:

    As someone who was “self-drummed” out of SZ, I have to say that, if it’s possible, you folks are even more childish than they are. Talk radio on the internet.

    W

  9. 9

    Materialist dodge: “I’d really like to give you the pro-FOUND intellectual whuppin’ you de-SERVE, but I ain’t got time to actually read all that $&#@ you post! Sumbuddy post a TL;DR already! Word.”

  10. 10
    Mark Frank says:

    I don’t, of course, have the privilege of writing an OP but I thought I would provide a similar service for you immaterialists. Luckily it is much shorter.

    I am obviously right therefore there is no point in discussing the arguments. So let’s talk about how gobsmackingly stupid and dishonest materialists are.

  11. 11
    WALTO says:

    @Mark Frank

    That beautifully sums up about 90% of the OPs here. At SZ that percentage only runs to about 75%, so I guess that place “wins” (on the Walto non-team-sport scoring system which likely carries little interest for anybody but me).

  12. 12
    Upright BiPed says:

    I am obviously right therefore there is no point in discussing the arguments.

    “I know you think that there is some kind of symbolism going in a cell. You are wrong … I will not pursue it”

    Sound familiar?

  13. 13
    ppolish says:

    From Dembski’s new book, “Being as Communion” end of Chapter 11:

    “Moreover, given that information can reside in infrastructures that are themselves entirely informational, I see no reason to take matter as anything other than a convenience to thought. With no disrespect to mythology, matter is a myth*”.

    Matter is a myth, Eigenstate. Boom materialists.

    “* I mean matter is a myth quite literally, namely it is (or supplies) a narrative that helps us explain the world.”

  14. 14
    Mark Frank says:

    #12 UB

    “I know you think that there is some kind of symbolism going in a cell. You are wrong … I will not pursue it”

    I may well have written something like that in the past. The difference is I didn’t claim I was obviously right and therefore you were stupid or dishonest. It is just a topic which I think has been debated to death and which I am not interested in.

  15. 15
    Upright BiPed says:

    You didn’t say something like that, you said that.

    Coherent observations in support of my opposition = I’m not interested.

    Got it.

  16. 16
    nkendall says:

    Okay lets see what I can come up with. This is just one of several disproofs of materialism that I have tried out on atheist websites. Never once had anyone lay of glove on it:

    DREAM SEQUENCES – A SIMPLE DISPROOF OF MATERIALISM
    Here is a simple disproof of materialism that everyone can understand; consider dream sequences:

    ASSUMPTIONS:
    1. Dreams always involve novel (NEW) content – they are not rehashings or restructuring of various memories; although the topics are in the context of one’s life experiences.
    2. Dreams are high definition imagery.
    3. Dreams are real imagery, i.e. you are unaware or unable to distinguish the dream imagery when it is going on from real visual imagery during waking consciousness.
    4. Dreams contain complex specified information, each image element (analogous to a pixel in HDTV) WITHIN an imagery frame in a dream has to be what it is for the imagery to be coherent and correlated. And each image element (pixel) has to be what it is for the imagery to be coherent and correlated dynamically ACROSS frames. I.e. each image element is highly constrained–highly specific.

    PROBLEM WITH MATERIAL EXPLANATIONS
    Materialism posits bottom-up causation and therefore consciousness, mental thoughts are produced by the components of the brain. Yet each of the many components that would have to be involved to give rise to a dream image, would be subject to an antecedent chain of causation which would not be dictated by the mental events (e.g. dream imagery) in any way. And all these components would have to be in sync with one another.

    CALCULATION OF PROBABILITIES
    Calculating probabilities is an endeavor in searching through large space. I will be charitable to materialism with each assumption in the calculation.
    Calculate the superset of the overall search space:
    – Determine the number of brain components involved.
    – Determine the number of alternative states that the brain components could be in.
    – Determine the refresh rate or frame rate of the dream imagery.
    – Determine the number of image frames in the dream.
    Example:
    Let’s say a neuron synapse is our “brain component” and it could be either firing or not, i.e. binary.
    Let’s say that there would have to be 10 million brain components (synapses firing or not) to produce each imagery frame in the dream.
    Let’s say a 5 second dream sequence has 20 image frames per second.
    So: 2^10,000,000 * (20 * 5) = A prohibitively large number that computers cannot even represent. This is the super set of possible brain states within which our single precise set of brain states necessary to cause our coherent, correlated dream imagery. In effect, the brain would have to create a novel mini movie instantaneously. This is flat out impossible without some high level controlling and creative entity, i.e. immaterial mind. Probabilities are much poorer than universal probability bound: 10^150.

    OTHER INTRACTABLE PROBLEMS NOT INCLUDED
    Note that in this exercise I am waving away a whole host of intractable difficulties and just focusing on what can be quantitatively demonstrated. For example I am waving away the following:

    The fact that dreams are imagery that is not initiated by vision.
    The dialog that goes along with dreams.
    The thoughts, abstract thoughts, that go along with a dream.
    That you seem to be able to focus your attention to a specific point in the dream imagery.
    The difficulty with how the brain could identify and sequester the precise set of brain components involved in producing the dream imagery.
    That the brain components’ events would have to be synchronized.
    The difficulty with how the brain even registers imagery and thoughts in one’s consciousness.

  17. 17

    whoa nice post nknendall!!

    I’ve spent many years examining dreams and logically comparing and experimenting with them. A few things I find remarkable about dreams is that in a single dream you can change perspectives from first person to observer; your dream avatar can be someone you’ve never even met, even of the opposite sex; when outrageous non-sequiturs do occur, your dream self often doesn’t even consider it odd or startling.

    I’ve also found it bizarre that sometimes even the most intersting and vibrant dreams can fade from memory even while you desperately try to keep them in mind.

    And then there’s lucid dreaming – how amazing is that?

    Another interesting thing is when you can be in a dream and remember/are aware of the entire backstory of the situation you are in.

    The mind is an incredibly powerful thing.

  18. 18
    Blue_Savannah says:

    Spot on Mr Arrington! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve encountered Materialist Dodge 4 in particular, when speaking with atheists.

  19. 19
    jstanley01 says:

    “Only emotionally unstable people, like you, need that God stuff. We materialists have the emotional maturity to be perfectly happy without it. Look, here’s a picture of my SO. Here’s another one of my kids. Here’s another one of my dog. See? Happy, happy, happy.”

  20. 20
    stenosemella says:

    These repeated posts about objective morality vs materialism is reminiscent of Groundhog Day. Hilarious but without any real purpose.

    Or maybe Edge of Tomorrow is a better analogy. If you can’t win with the first argument (OP), close comments and post another. Lather, rinse, repeat.

  21. 21
    Barry Arrington says:

    stenosemella @ 20:

    Perhaps you can explain to us why materialism is not logically incoherent.

    If you have nothing of substance to add to the discussion, by all means feel free to whine and make asshat snipes like the one in 20 (and now 22) if it makes you feel better.

  22. 22
    stenosemella says:

    Barry: “Perhaps you can explain to us why materialism is not logically incoherent.”

    You were the one who said that materialism is not logically coherent. I believe that the onus is on you to demonstrate this. Childishly declaring every materialist argument (regardless of merit) a materialist dodge does not promote a fair and honest discussion. Neither does heaping personal insults on everyone who disagrees with you. But this is your site and you are free to conduct yourself in any way you see fit.

    Have a great day.

  23. 23
    Barry Arrington says:

    stenosemella @ 22:

    Thank you for giving us an example of MD 11 on the very post where we first wrote it down:

    Materialist Dodge 11: The burden is always on you, never on me

    It makes not the slightest bit of difference that subjective self-awareness is the “primordial datum,” that everyone knows is a fact beyond the slightest doubt. It makes no difference that we are presupposing the existence of subjective self-awareness by even having this discussion. Unless you can give me a systematic account for how the immaterial interacts with the material, I do not have to explain why materialism is not logically incoherent.

    That is not the way things work stenosemella. The burden is on the proponent of a theory to establish it. You assert materialism is true. You have the burden of establishing it. That is not to say I have not actually done what you ask. If you have not been reading my posts in recent days and ask me to repeat everything I said in them, that just means you have not been paying attention. But that is apparently what it means to be a materialist — every materialist I’ve ever dealt with accepted it with a smug certitude that was grossly disproportionate to their ability to defend their position.

  24. 24
    stenosemella says:

    Barry: “Thank you for giving us an example of MD 11 on the very post where we first wrote it down:”

    I bet a friend of mine that you would not make a serious attempt to address the issue and that you would just characterize my comment as an example of a materialist dodge. Thank you for being so predictable. And thank you for the beer.

    If you are ever serious about having a fair and honest discussion I will be lurking in the background. Until then, have a nice day. I know I will.

  25. 25
    Barry Arrington says:

    S @ 24:

    You bet a friend that you would employ a materialist dodge and I would catch it. And he took the bet! Astounding. What is your friend’s name? Can I get in on some of that action?

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    ES, 6: No warrant presented on the incoherence of evolutionary materialism???

    H’mm, mebbe it is in some of the threads, comments and OPs you dismissed a priori and refuse to read with attention?

    Try: http://www.uncommondescent.com.....und-naked/

    (And yup, you are the poster child case in point. So nominated by BA.)

    The just linked points onwards to Ed Feser, who has some thoughts well worth reading and pondering.

    Feser, Pearcey, Reppert and others actually have whole books.

    This is not exactly hard to find if you are inclined to look and read carefully, with an open mind.

    And don’t forget to read the implications of something like Sir Francis Crick — yup that very same Nobel Prize holder — declaring in his 1994 The Astonishing Hypothesis:

    . . . that “You”, your joys and your sorrows, your memories and your ambitions, your sense of personal identity and free will, are in fact no more than the behaviour of a vast assembly of nerve cells and their associated molecules. As Lewis Carroll’s Alice might have phrased: “You’re nothing but a pack of neurons.” This hypothesis is so alien to the ideas of most people today that it can truly be called astonishing.

    With Wm B Provine saying the following at a U Tenn Darwin Day keynote in 1998:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will [=> responsible freedom] is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will . . .

    (As in if you do not have responsible freedom you can neither be moral nor choose to follow and acknowledge the cogency of an argument. And if “you” are a bundle of cells and electrochemistry driven by blind chance and necessity tracing back to the deep past of origins leading to being jumped up pond scum, there is little room for genuinely responsible rationality there. Which, necessarily includes those who imagine they have found the scientific truth proved by scientists.)

    More generally, try here on in context:

    http://iose-gen.blogspot.com/2.....ml#slf_ref

    And, there’s a lot more out there.

    KF

  27. 27
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF @ 26,

    Is it not astounding? Like rubbing a puppy’s face in his mess day after day while you house train him, we rub the incoherence of materialism in their face day after day after day. And then we get from eigenstate, “rubbing, what rubbing?”

    My jaw just drops to my chest when I read comments like that. I don’t know why it should surprise me, much less astonish me, after all these years. But it does.

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    BA: Deep down, we cannot but expect people to be reasonable, so it is a shock when they aren’t. And, far too often, we refuse to be reasonable when reason insistently points where we don’t want to go, with evidence backing it up. AKA, the fallacy of the closed mind; which of course gets some space in the Naked Emperor thread’s OP. (And BTW, while I first had that put to me by a prof of rhetoric 30 years back, there has long been a striking lack of sound discussion of it on the Internet. Always, a sign of hitting close to home so the projective and deflective defenses come up.) KF

  29. 29
    groovamos says:

    stenosemella @22 Neither does (you, Barry’s) heaping personal insults on everyone who disagrees with you.

    stenosemella @22 Childishly declaring every materialist argument (regardless of merit) a materialist dodge….

    Well please excuse the heaping of personal insult on that last one.

    Have a great day. ~~~~~~ Until then, have a nice day. I know I will.

    Reads with just a tad of similarity to “taking my toys and going home.” Or maybe it’s just me with the “childishly” thing so fresh, pardon if that is off base.

    Barry, I think Mark Frank would benefit (if that’s the right word) from reading about the empirical basis for the fact of humanity throughout history (and currently) having rejected his worldview. As with introduction to consciousness research via the Grof review. I have already linked it twice on the site and am therefore hesitant.

    Uh oh — I can anticipate a materialist dodge to the above, going something like: “The tragedy of humanity is that it has been enslaved in the chains of superstition for millenia and therefore is now fortunate to have the opportunity to be guided by us scientific elite out of bondage. Just hand over control of the culture/state to us and there will come a new age of enlightened, liberated existence on the Planet.”

  30. 30
    Mung says:

    Ever notice how materialists always want to talk about objective morality? As if that somehow makes them right.

    What is the materialist basis for subjective morality? What is the materialist basis for any morality whatsoever?

  31. 31
    jstanley01 says:

    Mung @ 30, how they felt when a kid knocked over their blocks and stole their cookies in Kindergarten class. I’m not being facetious, that kind of thing is also the basis for mine and everyone else’s personal favoritism toward morality and an overweening authority to make things right. But with the materialists, their personal favoritism toward morality and justice is all they’ve got. Unless you count their tautology that morality and justice exist because they lent survivability on an evolutionary time scale, or put more simply, “it is because it is.” But really, should puffery count? I don’t think so.

  32. 32
    Alicia Renard says:

    Ever notice how materialists always want to talk about objective morality? As if that somehow makes them right.

    I guess they might be curious, like me, as to how those that claim there is some absolute or objective moral framework that is accessible to us beyond what we learn to believe from our cultural background justfy that claim.

    What is the materialist basis for subjective morality? What is the materialist basis for any morality whatsoever?

    In any social situation, there is every reason to have a fair and universal code of ethics that protects the rights of individuals against oppression by others. As StephenB would agree, The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a well-known attempt at such a code.

    You could also ask “What is the materialist basis for subjective morality? What is the materialist basis for any morality whatsoever?” where people are freer to respond to it than here. I keep seeing The Skeptical Zone being mentioned. Have you thought of asking there?

  33. 33
    groovamos says:

    In any social situation, there is every reason to have a fair and universal code of ethics that protects the rights of individuals against oppression by others.

    Great. Then if there is a “every reason”, then that is tantamount to a purpose for fairness and ethics. A purpose for that which applies to purposeless human beings? Beings carrying around a delusion of meaning for what they are and do? And for which they exist? No wonder Thomas Nagel uses phrases like “violates common sense”.

  34. 34
    Alicia Renard says:

    Then if there is a “every reason”, then that is tantamount to a purpose for fairness and ethics.

    Of course. I agree that a code of Ethics such as the declaration I linked to serves the purpose of providing a bulwark against chaos and anarchy.

  35. 35
    Box says:

    *The consciousness of the materialist dodges the denial of consciousness by materialism.*
    According to materialism consciousness is an illusion. Okay, so lights out and eternal silence? No, not at all. Somehow the materialist is still there—quite awake and fully aware—more than willing to talk about what has tricked him into believing that he is conscious.

    FOR SOLID EVOLUTIONARY REASONS, WE’VE BEEN tricked into looking at life from the inside. Scientism shows that the first-person POV is an illusion.
    [Rosenberg]

    Who has been tricked? Who has been shown that he/she is an illusion?

    Even after scientism convinces us, we’ll continue to stick with the first person.
    [Rosenberg]

    We—illusive nothingnesses—have been convinced by science that we don’t exist, but we keep on allowing us to be tricked into believing that we exist?

    BTW how can “illusive nothingnesses” produce scientific knowledge?

  36. 36
    groovamos says:

    Renard: … serves the purpose of providing a bulwark against chaos and anarchy.

    So if life is purposeless, why do you care if your offspring live in chaos after your purposeless brain turns to stinking mush and the delusion of your being is over, exposed for the nothing that it supposedly is? Or do you think your life has a purpose or at least does that of your offspring?

  37. 37
    Seversky says:

    Mung @ 30

    Ever notice how materialists always want to talk about objective morality? As if that somehow makes them right.

    What is the materialist basis for subjective morality? What is the materialist basis for any morality whatsoever?

    Materialism – whether version 1.0 or version 2.0 – is a philosophical position on the nature of reality, of what is. Morality is about how we as human beings should behave, how we ought to be. Since we cannot logically derive “ought” from “is”, materialism is irrelevant to morality.

    Further, since morals are prescribed with a particular purpose or goal in mind, a purpose or goal which can only be conceived within the mind of an intelligent agent, what else can they be other than subjective?

  38. 38
    kairosfocus says:

    BA

    I think JS has found a new one, courtesy Shermer, over in the Emperor thread.

    JS, 20: >> Here’s another:

    Some smart people believe in God because smart people are better at rationalizing. (Is this a rationalization? Are you smart enough to rationalize well enough to fool yourself?)

    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2…..02941.html

    Michael Shermer thought he had an explanation which helped pacify those in the audience who were worried that some smart people believe in God:

    At the end of my book “Why People Believe Weird Things,” the last chapter is called “Why Smart People Believe Weird Things” which is the harder question to answer. And the short answer to that is because they’re better at rationalizing beliefs they arrived at for non-smart reasons.

    Does Shermer apply this to himself? Is he smart enough? (For it to apply, and if so to apply it.) >>

    I think we can dub this one, better look in the mirror.

    I said in reply:

    An interesting case, clearly self referential by implication. What it shows is that ability to rationalise is irrelevant to the soundness or otherwise of a worldview; the argument is definitely an ad hominem dismissal that begs the question of warrant while trying to skewer the target with loaded language and disrespect but on pondering I think that’s close but not quite the same as reducing one’s own view thereby to incoherence; somebody out there may well indeed have a worldview based on ill-founded rationalisation built on core error — better look in the mirror. Of course, far too many atheists seem to imagine they have cornered the market on smarts. I think you have raised a close kissing cousin fallacy, for convenience, better look in the mirror. JS, I think you have found a new Materialist Dodge! I think I will pass on to BA for his fast-growing list. (I would suggest, here on as a way to look at worldviews grounding, from a theistic perspective.)

    Redirecting . . .

    KF

    PS: Seversky needs to know that all knowledge is inherently subjective. But it is not merely subjective, as it has good warrant. That is what makes knowledge objective.

  39. 39
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: I think I better promote to a full comment:

    SEV, 37: >>since morals are prescribed with a particular purpose or goal in mind, a purpose or goal which can only be conceived within the mind of an intelligent agent, what else can they be other than subjective?>>

    KF, 38: >> Seversky needs to know that all knowledge is inherently subjective. But it is not merely subjective, as it has good warrant. That is what makes knowledge objective.>>

    KF

  40. 40
    Seversky says:

    kairosfocus @ 39

    KF, 38: >> Seversky needs to know that all knowledge is inherently subjective. But it is not merely subjective, as it has good warrant. That is what makes knowledge objective.>>

    If we regard knowledge as being that which exists only in the mind of a ‘knower’, an intelligent agent, then knowledge itself can be considered subjective; if the mind is lost then so is the knowledge. That which the mind has knowledge of or about can be objective if it is held to exist regardless of whether or not it is known by an observer. The knowledge however is always subjective even if it shared amongst many observers.

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